UK politicians to investigate digital currencies and blockchain
The UK’s Treasury Committee has launched a new inquiry into digital currencies and distributed ledger technology (DLT) as it seeks to get to grips with the opportunities and risks.
The inquiry, announced today (22 February), will look at what digital currencies may bring to consumers, businesses and the UK government.
It will examine the potential impact of DLT on financial institutions, including the central bank and financial infrastructure.
It will also scrutinise the regulatory response to digital currencies from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Bank of England (BoE).
Nicky Morgan MP, chair of the Treasury Committee, says: “People are becoming increasingly aware of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, but they may not be aware that they are currently unregulated in the UK, and that there is no protection for individual investors.”
As with many others in the fintech and non-fintech worlds, Morgan points out there are issues “relating to volatility, money laundering, and cybercrime”.
Morgan explains: “Striking the right balance between regulating digital currencies to provide adequate protection for consumers and businesses, whilst not stifling innovation, is crucial. As part of the inquiry, we will explore how this can be achieved.”
Alison McGovern MP, member of the Treasury Committee, adds that its “inquiry comes at the right time, as regulators and governments wrestle with recent events in cryptocurrency markets” and “it is time that Whitehall and Westminster understood cryptocurrency better, and thought more clearly about the policy environment for blockchain technology”.
It’s early days for all this, but we will await the results of their inquiry with great interest.
If you didn’t know, the Treasury Committee is a select committee of the House of Commons in the UK’s Parliament. Its remit is to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of HM Treasury, with all of its agencies and associated bodies, including HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the BoE, the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), the FCA and the Royal Mint.